Structural Integration is a scientifically validated system of body restructuring and movement education. It is the product of 50 years of study and practice by founder, Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D., and since her death in 1979, the many people she trained to carry on her work. In the public this system of physical manipulation, is also known under the name Rolfing. Structural Integration is the initial name given by Dr. Rolf to her life work. It is taught by numerous schools around the world amongst others the "The Guild for Structural Integration". The words Rolfing® and Rolfer® that are also used to designate her method and the practitioners that work with it, are the trade marks of the largest school that teaches Structural Integration – The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration®.
The basis of Structural Integration consists of an inquiry into the relationship of the human being with the energy field in which he or she moves - the field of gravity. The gravitational field of the earth is easily the most potent physical influence in any human life. Invariably in matter appropriate order is more economical of energy than disorder. A malaligned body will - it has to - adjust to the downward force of gravity, by creating additional elements of support - thickenings and shortenings of connective tissue. Over time this will impair joint mobility and muscle potential, which in turn will cause more imbalance to happen - a vicious circle.
The purpose of Structural Integration is to guide the body into a natural balance with the field of gravity. Structural Integration accomplishes this balancing through ten approx. 60 minutes long sessions of systematic manipulation that loosen and reorganize the entire connective tissue (fascial) web.
This process releases the body's segments - legs, arms, torso, etc.- from life-long patterns of tension and bracing, permitting gravity to align them.